The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS)
Bethlehem Lutheran Church is a chartered
member of The Lutheran Church – Missouri Synod (LCMS), a member congregation of
the South Wisconsin District (SWD) of the LCMS, and part of the Oconomowoc
Circuit of sister churches: St. Paul’s Lutheran-Oconomowoc, Divine Redeemer
Lutheran-Hartland, St. John’s Lutheran-North Prairie, Shepherd of the Hills
Lutheran-Pewaukee, St. John’s Lutheran-Sullivan, and St. John’s
Find out more about
the LCMS here: www.lcms.org
Find out more about the SWD here: https://swd.lcms.org
The three Lutheran SOLAS
Lutheran SOLAS (sola, Latin from “alone”) Sola Gratia – Grace Alone, Sola Fide – Faith Alone, Sola
Scriptura – Scripture Alone, are core principles of the
Protestant Reformation that guide Lutheran Theology to this day.
SOLA GRATIA - GRACE
SOLA FIDE - FAITH
SOLA SCRIPTURA - SCRIPTURE
THROUGH GRACE – Salvation comes from God, and God alone. Grace is
undeserved love. God loves the people of the world, even though they are
sinful, rebel against Him and do not deserve His love. In order for God to
reconcile people back to Himself, He sent Jesus, His Son, to love the unlovable
and save the ungodly.
Psalm 130: 3-4; John
1:14; John 3:16; Romans 3:24; 6:14; 6:23; 11:6; Ephesians 2:8-9
THROUGH FAITH – By His suffering and death as the substitute for all
people of all time, Jesus purchased forgiveness and won eternal life for all.
Those who hear this Good News and take it to heart have the eternal life that
it offers. God creates faith in Christ and gives people forgiveness through
John 14:6; Romans
1:17, 6:23; Galatians 3:11, 26; Ephesians 2:8-9; Hebrews 10:38
THROUGH SCRIPTURE – We believe, teach, and confess the Bible to be God’s
inspired Word where God reveals Himself to us as the Loving Triune God: Father,
Son and Holy Spirit. Because of this, Scripture is trustworthy, and reliable to
give us hope.
Proverbs 30:52; Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:20-21
We believe that the 66 books known
as the Holy Bible are the divinely inspired and inerrant Word of God, as they
were recorded by God’s chosen prophets and apostles.
- God’s Word has power to save because “faith comes by
hearing” (Romans 10:17).
take our teachings, our values, and our doctrines from the Bible alone.
- We do not make God’s Word fit our desire and opinions;
rather, we let God’s Word shape us in thought, word, and deed.
- Every word of the Bible is God's Word, written by holy
men of God. The Bible is without error. (2 Timothy 3:15-16)
- Law and Gospel are the two great doctrines of the
Bible. The Law (The Ten Commandments) tells us how we are to be and
what we are to do and not to do. The Gospel tells us the good news
of salvation in Jesus Christ. Studying Scripture daily is the
foundation of our lives that shows God's eternal purpose for us. (Romans
There is one, eternal, divine God, and holds in himself
infinite wisdom, power and goodness. We also believe, as revealed by Jesus
Christ, there are three Persons who are God, each of equal essence and power,
revealed by the Name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. We submit to
this mystery of the Unity in Trinity and Trinity in Unity, along with all who
truly bear the name Christian, because this is who God has revealed himself to
be. Trinity is mankind’s explanation of the incomprehensible things God has
revealed to us about Himself through Scripture. (Matthew
God the Father
We believe in God the Father – Creator of heaven and earth and of all that is visible and invisible. God the Father is our Creator and Maker of everything in heaven and on earth. He created all mankind to live in harmony with Him for eternity; however, sin has broken that relationship and makes it impossible for mankind to find God on their own. In His great love, God sent God the Son. (Genesis 1-3, Romans 3:23, Hebrews 11:3, John 3:16)
God the Son
We believe in God the Son – Jesus Christ is God the Son who came in the flesh to suffer death on the cross and to rise again to life, in order to provide victory over sin and death for ALL mankind. Through Him alone are we saved. God the Son, Jesus Christ, was sent to be our Redeemer over 2000 years ago. He was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the virgin Mary. Jesus lived, suffered, died and rose again to voluntarily pay the price of our sins and gain our salvation. Salvation is available to all who believe, but we cannot believe on our own. So, God sent God the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 4:4-5, Matthew 1:20-21, Hebrews 4:14-15, Ephesians 2:8-9)
God the Holy Spirit
We believe in God the Holy Spirit – In order that we might receive faith, Jesus promised that the preaching of his death and resurrection would carry the miraculous gift of the Holy Spirit, the third person of the Trinity. The Holy Spirit creates, builds, and nourishes our faith; and who calls and makes us holy. The Holy Spirit draws sinners to Christ, creates faith in our hearts and equips believers for personal growth and service to God. By the power of the Spirit working through the Word and Sacraments, we believe and we will enter everlasting life in heaven with God. (Romans 10:17, John 14:16-17, Ephesians 2:20-22, Ephesians 4:11-13, Titus 3:4-8; 1 John 3:24)
Since the fall of Adam, all people are born tainted with a
spiritual disease which the Bible calls "sin." This sin is first and
foremost a lack of the fear of God, a lack of trust in God, and a tendency
toward self-serving thoughts, words and deeds, which run contrary to true love
for one's neighbor. Scripture teaches that this vice of origin (or,
"original sin,") is truly the root of every evil we experience, and
even now is the cause of all temporal death. Worse, it makes us lost and ruined in body and soul and condemns us and will bring eternal death upon all those
who are not redeemed from it. Being depraved, we by nature do not want to
believe this, but instead continue in our wickedness, the greatest of which is
continuing to insist that we are not wicked at all. (Romans 8:1-4, Ephesians 2:1-3)
We believe that God works through
His means of grace (Word and Sacraments) to create and strengthen faith in a
The Sacrament of Holy Baptism
combines the physical element of water with God’s promise of forgiveness.
- Baptism is a sacred act that Jesus himself commanded us to do. (Matthew 28:19-20)
- Through baptism we are united Christ’s death and resurrection. (Romans 6:3-5)
- We are buried with Him as we die to sin, and just as He rose from the grave, we are reborn as children of God and heirs to heaven.
- Although human hands are involved in this sacred act, it is God who does the work of killing and making alive. (Titus 3:5-7)
- God offers this gift to all for the forgiveness of sins. (2 Peter 3:9)
We practice infant baptism because…
is for all people. (Matt. 28:19)
- All mankind is born sinful and needs
forgiveness. (Gen. 8:21; John 3:5-6; Eph. 2:3; Rom. 3:23)
- Jesus invites little children to come to Him. (Mark
- Babies are able to have faith. (Matt. 18:6;
Luke 1:15, 41-44)
The Lord's Supper
The Sacrament of the Altar offers
Christ’s true body and blood, under the bread and wine, for the forgiveness of
- As Jesus celebrated the Passover with His disciples on the night he was betrayed and arrested, He instituted the Lord’s Supper. (Matt. 26:26–28; Mark 14:22–25; Luke 22:14–20; 1 Cor.11:17–29)
- This is not merely a symbol, but the actual body and blood of Christ that is present in a mysterious way in, with, and under the visible elements of bread and wine. While we may not understand how the body and blood of Christ can be truly present in this meal, we receive it in faith because we trust in the truthfulness of Christ, who said, “This is my body… This is my blood.” (Luke 22:19)
- This meal is a remembrance of what Christ did for us on the cross, a confession of our faith, and a foretaste of the feast to come in Paradise. (1 Corinthians 11:25-26)
practice (close) communion because…
- It is the historical practice of the early Church.
- Being in communion with each other requires that we
believe and confess the same things. (Acts 2:42; 1 Corinthians
- We desire to protect people from taking it to their
condemnation rather than the blessing it is intended to be. (1
As the Holy Spirit assembles
Christians together to hear this preaching and to fellowship in this worship, this
is what the ancients called "Church." It is the collection of
invisible believers in all time and space. This Church exists wherever the Word
of God is preached in its truth and purity. While it is not necessary that
human traditions or ceremonies be shared in common in every place, it is necessary
that Jesus' traditions of Preaching, Holy Baptism and the Lord's Supper be
retained in their purity in every place as well, for without these things the
Spirit is not present and we are not Church.
Why do we go to church?
- WORSHIP – to know God better and to love Him more every day.
- FELLOWSHIP – to love each other as Jesus has loved us all.
- DISCIPLESHIP – to become like Christ in all we say and do.
- MINISTRY – to serve the Lord while growing in faith and love.
- MISSION – to serve God by serving others and by sharing the Good News.
Jesus taught, “Love
one another as I have loved you.” (John 13:34) We
strive to pass that love to all others, those who join us, our friends and
families, and to our neighbors. In summary, all people who we encounter in our
lives. We do this through our gatherings, our activities and in our daily
lives. We hope you will join us in this walk!
About Christ's Return
This working of the Holy Spirit to
assemble sinners by the preaching of salvation and the giving of promises has
continued ever since Jesus ascended. Jesus currently is seated in power at the
right hand of God the Father to rule all nations by the still small voice of
men sent to preach everything which he ever said, to wash those awakened to
repentance with the miraculous power of his Name, and to feed those faithful
with the comfort of his bodily presence until he comes again to take them home.
- We believe that Jesus is coming soon. (Revelation 22: 7-12) Many have died waiting for this coming, but those of us who are left do not mourn for them as the rest of the world, which has no hope. (1 Thessalonians 4:13)
- At the appointed time Jesus will come again to initiate the life of the world to come, (a renewed, restored Heaven and Earth), and we who have been brought to faith in his Word by his Spirit will rise from the dead, with our bodies gloriously purged of every sin and stain, with hearts and minds fully freed from the powers of this age, in order that we might together be his own, and live with him in his Kingdom, serving him in everlasting goodness, innocence, and blessedness. (1 Corinthians 15)
How Shall We Live
The Christian life is one of
repentance, or "an awareness of sin and its wickedness, and a desire to
turn around." As Christ preaches forgiveness of sins, those who are
converted grow aware of contrition, a terror of the conscience that realizes
what sin really is, and what it deserves. Like a salve upon a deep wound, the
good news of Christ's satisfaction on the cross comforts the conscience, even
as this awareness deepens, so that by both Law and Gospel, the Holy Spirit
creates a living and active faith in each believer. We believe then in response
to the salvation we receive in Jesus Christ, it is our duty and privilege to
live as God’s called and redeemed people.
- Our good works and obedience to the Law do not save us,
but we joyfully strive to live a God pleasing life because God has made us
a new creation through Christ our Lord. (Ephesians 2:8-10; 4:1-6;
Romans 12:2; Colossians 3:5-10; 2 Corinthians 5:17)
- God calls for a total commitment on the part of all who
are His and that we are all God's evangelists. (Matt. 28:19-20;
Acts 10:42; Rom. 10:15)
- All of our time, talents, and
treasures are gifts from God and should be used to honor and glorify
Christ. (Ephesians 2:10)
Studying Jesus' Word is not something that can be done
hastily, at a glance, and then put aside. Each of the above topics contain enough
in them that we could never stop
learning. Together we grow in beautiful revelation of the Ten Commandments, the
historical power of the Apostles Creed, and Christian life given us in the
Lord's Prayer. All these too are only a beginning.
So Take The Next Step
Show up for worship, dig
into one of our Bible studies, and find out what it means to be part of a
Church that puts the priority in the right place.